All of the social media platforms will make major changes in 2017, so it is very difficult to predict which will reign supreme heading into 2018. That said, there are a number of reasons why it is likely many brands will look back and say, “Wow, Instagram kicked butt last year.” Here are our top three:

1 – Facebook ad saturation

Creative is hard and expensive, but advertising helps that creative investment reach more people. Therefore, a strong ad platform makes it more likely that creative is tailored specifically for that social network. In 2016 Facebook proved this as its advertising went mainstream: easy-to- build creative, small budget buys and highly-focused audience targeting brought advertising to every small business. Many of these businesses are still figuring it out, but it already feels saturated. If you want to separate your brand from the masses, Instagram is the logical next frontier. With the Facebook back-end ad capabilities in place, there is more power behind Instagram advertising than on other platforms, and green pastures still exist.

2 – Snapchat will not cross the chasm and Instagram will fill the void

Snapchat is a great platform, but there are still significant barriers for it to become as pervasive and usable as Facebook and Instagram. As such, its use for business will remain limited. Most of the exciting features from Snapchat are available via Instagram Stores, and Instagram offers live video — a current gap for Snapchat. Instagram also has a broader reach and accessible advertising, making it much more likely we see businesses launching creative concepts on Instagram before Snapchat.

3 – Instagram will switch to an Algorithmic Newsfeed

This may seem counter-intuitive, but brands have come to accept the end of “post neutrality” on social media. While organic reach on Instagram is likely to diminish with an algorithmic newsfeed, higher quality creative with some ad support will perform better. This will spur more creativity on the platform and drive more consistent business success. In addition, as live video expands, more exposure through algorithm highlighting of trending live video will create new opportunities on Instagram.

It is also likely that Instagram will upgrade its API access in 2017, which will drive more app development that support business use and, thus, more innovation. While predictability in social media is almost like reading tea leaves, as the only constant is change, Instagram is well-positioned to be an innovation winner in 2017.

Let us know your thoughts.